What is Shakira accused of and why is she ordered to stand trial in Spain?
A Barcelona judge has ordered Shakira to stand trial in Spain for alleged tax fraud which could result in a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fine.
Colombian pop singer Shakira is going to get her day in court after a Spanish judge approved that she be tried for allegedly failing to pay taxes during a three-year period. The Queen of Latin Music denies any wrongdoing and rejected a settlement offer from the prosecutor in July as “a matter of principle.”
Spanish authorities claim that the 45-year-old singer was a resident between 2012 and 2014 during which time she failed to pay €14.5 million ($13.8 million) in taxes. Shakira says that its hogwash, not only was her residence in the Bahamas but she didn’t spend enough time in the Mediterranean nation to meet the tax authority’s stated requirements for residency.
Shakira says “there was no way I qualified as a resident”
Prosecutors claim that they have more than enough evidence that Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, spent more than half the year in Spain during the years in question. Under Spanish law, any individual that spends over 183 days in the country during a year is considered a Spanish resident for tax purposes.
The Columbian singer said in a recent interview with Elle that her career kept her on the road outside of Spain well over half of the year. “I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.”
“While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident.” Shakira had her official residence in the Bahamas until 2015 when she moved to Barcelona with FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Piqué. The former couple recently ended their 11-year relationship.
“It’s a matter of principle” for Shakira
The Queen of Latin Music told the magazine that “the Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate. It’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what.” The Grammy winner public relations firm has said that she has already paid all that she owed, along with an additional €3 million ($2.9 million) in interest.
Furthermore, besides knowing that she wasn’t in Spain for the required time, none of her income is derived from inside the country nor is it her place of work. “But they still came after me, with their eyes on the prize,” she said.
Prosecutors are seeking an eight-plus-year prison sentence and a fine of €23 million ($22 million) if she is found guilty on six counts of tax evasion. The date for the trial has yet to be set.
“I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations.”